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Charter Becomes 5th Major Pay TV Op to Raise Prices

Charter has become the fifth major pay TV operator to announce it will raise prices on some video plans and fees in 2018.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Charter has alerted the city government of Lexington, Kentucky that monthly subscriber prices will increase in January 2018.  (Charter offers video, Internet and phone service in Lexington as well as many other markets in the United States.)

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It’s unclear if other Charter markets will see the same price increases as Lexington, but traditionally, cable operators apply the same or similar price adjustments in all markets they serve, although sometimes the increases will be implemented at different times.

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DIRECTV, Dish, Comcast and Cox previously revealed that it will increase prices in 2018 although video subscriber defections for all four (and Charter) have recently increased, and rising monthly bills is considered a major cause.

The Charter 2018 price hikes described to Lexington include a 33 percent increase in the Limited Basic TV Service plan (from $15 a month to $20 a month); a 16 percent increase in the receiver fee (from $5.99 a month to $6.99 a month); a 18 percent increase in the Broadcast Fee (from $7.50 a month to $8.85 a month); a 20 percent increase in Charter’s Sports Pass package (from $10 a month to $12 a month); a 20 percent increase in the Movie Pass add-on plan (from $10 a month to $12 a month) and a 20 percent increase in the Digital Adapter fee (from $4 a month to $4.99 a month.).

Charter has told the city of Lexington that subscriber Good Triple Play Premium plans will also rise from $129.99 to $139.99; the Better Triple Play Plus or Triple Play Plus will increase from $149.99 to $159.99, and the Best Triple Play Plus will rise from $169.99 to $179.99.

It’s unclear from the Herald-Leader article if the price of other video packages will rise as well.

The cable operator told the city that it will lower the cost of the Expanded Basic TV Service plan from $54.99 to $49.99, according to the newspaper.

The Lexington Herald-Leader also writes that Lexington Major Jim Gray is outraged over this new price increase. The cable operator increased some video prices in early 2017 when it took control over cable service in the area following its merger with Time Warner.

“I’m outraged,” Gray told the Herald-Leader. “This is the second rate hike for Spectrum’s cable subscribers in a single year. And considering Spectrum’s record of poor customer service, it just confirms my decision to bring competition and more options to Lexington for cable TV services along with high-speed internet.”

The city of Lexington has been sharply critical of Charter’s performance since it replaced Time Warner as the city’s cable operator.

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— Phillip Swann